The Importance of Young HuntersPosted on: February 28, 2018 By: FHMD
In today’s society, the number of young hunters is declining. I find it a shame that the youth, under the age of 20, will not learn all the invaluable life lessons that can come from hunting that I’ve had the pleasure of learning. Hunting creates bonding time, helps to create memories and new friends, and creates relationships that last a life time.
I have great memories and have had bonding time with my grandfather, dad, uncles and cousins since I was old enough to hold a gun. We spent lots of time together in goose pits or duck blinds. As I was brought up, we would all get together around the holidays for annual hunting trips. It didn’t matter if the hunting was good or not; we were going to spend time with each other and keep the tradition alive.
I have spent many cold, winter mornings and evenings with my Grandfather around Kennedyville in Kent County, where we always goose hunted in the fields and duck hunted around Eastern Neck Island. Goose hunting in the fields and duck hunting on the rivers and marshes has always been something I eat, breathe, and sleep. I would be anxious in anticipation all year for the season to come back around so I could get back to my roots of waterfowl hunting.
Besides the fact that I enjoy the sport of waterfowl hunting, I feel everybody should learn the benefits of conservation that goes along with it. It’s important to teach harvesting and only taking what you need and giving back to the land. You learn important lessons in land preservation and the importance of creating habitat for the waterfowl like ponds and marshes. You can also build nesting boxes so ducks have a safe place to hatch their eggs. I believe that giving back and practicing good conservation is one of the best parts about hunting because we revolve around nature and what it provides us—we must give back for nature to replenish itself.
We have a conservation season that starts in the beginning of February and runs until mid-April. This season is designed to help control the Light Geese (Snow Geese) population. The population of Snow Geese has grown so large that they are literally eating themselves out of their ecosystems. Breeding grounds in the Tundra above Canada is being destroyed by the Snow Geese at such a fast rate that their food source cannot keep up with their populations. This season in Maryland allows for the use of Electronic Calls, no plugs needed, no bag limits, and extended shooting hours from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset in hopes of controlling their increasing numbers.
Hunting is also a building block to help build life skills and teach responsibility young people. Hunting helps to develop positive life skills such as discipline, patience, learning to deal with changes, and accepting disappointment. Hunting can help promote a physically-active lifestyle by getting kids off the couch and into the outdoors. Whether spent walking through the woods to look for deer or walking a marsh to look for ducks and geese, it important to make time for exercise and fresh air.
Hunting is a big responsibility. It will teach you how to handle a weapon safely and use it correctly. It instills the importance of leaving a hunting ground as it was before you got there, respecting other hunters, and respecting the animals that you bag. By teaching young people hunting ethics and skills, they will learn responsibility that carry into other parts of their life, and help shape them to be a well-rounded adult.
To find out how to attain a hunting license in Maryland, visit Maryland DNR’s online Hunting and Trapping Guide.
This post was written by Jase Meredith
Images courtesy of the author